Lyons rallies to knock off Sandburg


Lyons rallies to knock off Sandburg

Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010
12:23 AM

By Pat DiSabato

Trailing 17-7 late in the first half, Lyons quarterback Brian Kelley never wavered in his belief his team would register the victory on Friday night.

His faith was rewarded when the Lions outscored Sandburg 14-3 over the next 31:40 and posted a thrilling 21-20 victory in a Class 8A second-round battle in Western Springs.

Lyons (10-1) advances to play Mount Carmel (9-2) in the quarterfinals.

Of course, Kelley was instrumental in the comeback win, completing 10 of 14 passes for 119 yards and rushing for an additional 79 yards on 19 carries.

I knew we would come back, the 6-foot-3, 180-pound senior said. We have the best offensive line in the state. We just had to get behind them and move the football.

Kelley ignited the rally with a 1-yard touchdown run with two seconds remaining in the half that cut the deficit to 17-14 after Mike Petts point-after kick.

The Lions carried that momentum into the second half. But not before Sandburgs Taylor Zalewski split the uprights from 32 yards out for a 20-14 advantage with 1:44 remaining in the third quarter.

The Eagles six-point lead lasted all of 48 seconds. The Lions put together a three-play drive, capped by Jaime Jones 2-yard touchdown and Petts PAT for a 21-20 edge with 56.2 seconds remaining in the third.

Kelley hit Chris Klotz with a clutch 33-yard pass that set up the game-winning score.

We didnt doubt that wed come back, said Jones, who finished with 97 yards on 21 carries. Brian has a switch that he just seems to turn on. Hes a great leader.

The defeat was a tough one to swallow for Sandburg (8-3). The Eagles used a 5-yard TD run by Chris Gomez (5 yards), a 44-yard field goal by Zalewski and an 18-yard TD pass from Cody Miller to Tres Oliver to open up the 17-7 advantage. Oliver also completed a 40-yard halfback-option pass to a diving Javonte Keys that set up the Eagles third score of the half.

However, Sandburgs offensive firepower pretty much was nonexistent in the second half. Being whistled for 55 yards in penalties didnt help the cause. Lyons, on the flip side, was called for just 20 yards in penalties.

Miller completed 9 of 13 passes for 122 yards. Gomez led a balanced ground attack, recording 62 yards on 10 carries, while Jermell Harris (eight carries, 46 yards) and Brandon Gomez (six carries, 38 yards) helped keep the chains moving.

We didnt make the adjustment at the half we needed to make, Sandburg coach Dave Wierzal said. So we were making adjustment on the fly in the second half.

The Eagles had one last chance to win the game, taking over on their own 20 with 5:21 to go. Sandburg advanced the ball to its own 42, needing approximately 25 yards to give the strong-legged Zalewski a chance to attempt a 50-yard field goal. But some questionable play-calling sent the Eagles backward, where they would turn the ball over on downs from their own 38.

This was a great group of seniors, Wierzal said. They have a lot to be proud of.

A Hobbled Hero: Baez, Cubs keep finding wild ways to win

A Hobbled Hero: Baez, Cubs keep finding wild ways to win

Javy Baez has only seen one pitch in the Cubs-Phillies series, but that's all he needs to make a major impact.

"El Mago" notched his first walk-off RBI since May 8, 2016 in the bottom of the ninth inning Tuesday night, lacing the only pitch he saw from Juan Nicasio down the right-field line. Baez had missed the entire series to that point due to a heel injury he suffered Sunday in Washington D.C. and actually underwent an MRI before Tuesday's game to make sure there was no other damage.

Baez's single put the finishing touches on the Cubs' first win this season when trailing after eight innings. They now lead the majors with five walk-off victories.

After another blown lead by the bullpen (the third in the last week), the Cubs entered the bottom of the ninth down 2-1, but Kris Bryant led off with a walk and then Anthony Rizzo doubled. After a Willson Contreras flyout, Jason Heyward was intentionally walked and then Albert Almora Jr. hit a tapper in front of home plate that Bryant just barely beat out at home to tie the game.

Then came Baez, as Joe Maddon opted to go to the hobbled star in place of Daniel Descalso, who was 0-for-4 on the evening to that point.

Prior to the ninth inning, Maddon wasn't sure if Baez would even be available to pinch hit in the game, but trainer P.J. Mainville taped up Javy's foot/ankle at the start of the inning and gave the Cubs skipper the all-clear.

"Just give PJ some credit on the tape job," Maddon joked. "This is right out of the Lombardi era kind of stuff. Tape and aspirin — go ahead and play. That's what everybody's football coach said."

If Baez hadn't delivered the walk-off hit and the Cubs wound up in extra innings, Maddon said he didn't know if Baez would be able to even play the field on his injured heel and the only player left on the bench was backup catcher Victor Caratini.

"In moments like that, you can only think it so far," Maddon said. "And then at some point, you gotta throw it at the wall and see what happens."

Maddon doesn't know if Baez will be able to play Wednesday night, but plans to make two lineups and then check with the shortstop to see about his status when he arrives at the field.

Baez's Cubs teammates are no longer surprised at the ridiculous things he does or how easy he makes some very difficult tasks look. Bryant joked he was actually upset Baez didn't hit it over the fence for a walk-off grand slam.

"I don't even know what's going on with him half the time anyway," Bryant said. "It's like, 'oh, Javy's pinch-hitting. And then I was debating like, 'don't swing at the first pitch," but I was like, 'no, it's Javy.' 

"It was awesome. He just like goes up there and swings the bat. If he didn't have to run to first base, he wouldn't. It's just like, 'I'm so good, I'm just gonna get this hit and then we're gonna go home.'"

However awe-inspiring Baez's Kirk Gibson impression was, the only reason the Cubs were even in the spot to win the game at that moment was because of the hustle and aggressive baserunning from Bryant. 

His game-tying run on Almora's tapper in front of the plate was huge, but his first trip around the bases was even more impressive. 

With Bryant on second base and Rizzo on first in the first inning, both runners were off on the full-count pitch to Contreras, who hit a routine grounder to Phillies shortstop Jean Segura. As Segura made the throw to first to retire Contreras, Bryant never hesitated around third base and scored on some heads-up, aggressive baserunning that looked like a page right out of the El Mago Playbook.

Bryant said as he was running, he thought about what it's like to play the left side of the infield on such a routine play and felt like he could catch the Phillies by surprise.

"I saw [third base coach Brian Butterfield] holding me up, too, and I just kept going," Bryant said. "I almost felt like I had eyes in the back of my head. It was kind of like one of those experiences that it's hard to explain, but I just kept going."

That run was all Jose Quintana and the Cubs needed for six innings, until Carl Edwards Jr. came on in relief for the seventh. Edwards allowed a leadoff single and then a double two batters later, giving way to Brandon Kintzler with two outs.

Kintzler gave up a groundball single up the middle to Andrew McCutchen and just like that, the Cubs' thin 1-0 lead had evaporated in the blink of an eye. And with the offensive issues (they were 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position before Baez's hit), that looked to be enough to send the Cubs to their second straight defeat in frustrating fashion.

But the magic of El Mago and Bryant allowed the Cubs to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat and send fans home happy and with a little more belief that this just might be a special summer on Chicago's North Side.

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Cubs Talk Podcast: Jake Arrieta discusses his return & Mark DeRosa talks the leadoff spot


Cubs Talk Podcast: Jake Arrieta discusses his return & Mark DeRosa talks the leadoff spot

Hear from Jake Arrieta after his first start as a visitor at Wrigley Field, including his thoughts on facing his former teammates and the standing ovation he received during his first at-bat (1:30). Then, Luke Stuckmeyer is joined by MLB Network's Mark DeRosa to discuss the Cubs' leadoff spot, the team outperforming expectations so far, and much more (8:15).

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:

Cubs Talk Podcast